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Torch Singer (1933)

Passed  |   |  Drama, Musical, Romance  |  8 September 1933 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 432 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 9 critic

When she can't support her illegitimate child, an abandoned young woman puts her up for adoption and pursues a career as a torch singer.


(story), (screenplay) (as Lenore Coffee) , 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Sally Trent, aka Mimi Benton
David Manners ...
Michael 'Mike' Gardner
Lyda Roberti ...
Dora Nichols
Baby LeRoy ...
Bobby, Dora's Baby at 1 Year (as Baby Le Roy)
Andrew 'Juddy' Judson
Sam Godfrey ...
Harry, Radio Announcer
Florence Roberts ...
Mother Angelica
Virginia Hammond ...
Mrs. Julia Judson
Mildred Washington ...
Carrie, Mimi's Maid
Cora Sue Collins ...
Sally at 5 Years
Miss Spaulding
Albert Conti ...
Agatha Alden


Sally Trent has an illegitimate child, but cannot support her and gives the baby up for adoption. The father, Michael Gardner, leaves for China not knowing about the baby, and she assumes he has abandoned her for life. She gets a job as a torch singer, changes her name to Mimi Benton, and becomes notorious for her drinking and philadering. Mimi fills in on a children's radio program as the character "Aunt Jenny," singing and telling bedtime stories, and eventually uses the airtime to find her long lost daughter, part with her wild lifestyle, and reunite with Michael. Written by sarasdano

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The worst woman in New York...sang the best love songs! Lips that had kissed more men than she could remember ...crooned lullabies no one could forget!


Drama | Musical | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

8 September 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Broadway Singer  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »


Michael Gardner: You've changed all right! You're selfish, hard.
Mimi Benton: Sure I am, just like glass. So hard, nothing'll cut it but diamonds. Come around some day with a fistful. Maybe we can get together.
See more »


Featured in Complicated Women (2003) See more »


Give Me Liberty or Give Me Love
Music by Ralph Rainger
Lyric by Leo Robin
Played during the opening credits and at the end
Sung by Claudette Colbert at a nightclub
Reprised by Claudette Colbert at a nightclub
See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent Early Colbert
6 April 2010 | by (Ramsey, NJ) – See all my reviews

Hollywood sometimes went pretty far afield to find offbeat plots and Torch Singer is one the most offbeat you will see. It starts off soapy and ends up as a love story of sorts and in between there is some comedy and some musical numbers - something for everyone. I kept waiting for it to descend into bathos and tears but Claudette Colbert was so excellent that she singlehandedly kept the show afloat.

Ordinarily I don't care for Colbert much but I found new respect for her acting ability and was amazed to learn she sang her own songs in this picture. Other readers have rehashed the story but I just want to add a few words about the supporting cast. It was refreshing to see Ricardo Cortez in a role that was not sinister - in fact, he was kind-hearted and almost tender. I can never get enough of Lyda Roberti, who I thought had a future as a top film comedienne but died too soon. Here she's only on screen for about 15 minutes. In a night club scene you can get a glimpse of Dennis O'Keefe behind David Manners' shoulder.

This picture was headed for a sub-par rating from me as it is a very odd and contrived story, but as reported it was salvaged by Colbert's performance. Just enjoy it and don't ask too many questions.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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